The Elite League will have two representatives in the 2017/18 Champions Hockey League, after the CHL board confirmed that one of the two wild card spots for next year’s tournament will be awarded to this year’s title winners.
Sheffield Steelers, Braehead Clan and Nottingham Panthers have previously featured in the tournament, with the latter already through to next season’s competition as winners of the IIHF Continental Cup.
A further 13 participants from the CHL’s founding leagues have already been confirmed:
Sweden: Frölunda Gothenburg, Växjö Lakers, HV71 Jönköping
Finland: Tappara Tampere, TPS Turku
Switzerland: SC Bern, ZSC Lions Zurich
Czech Republic: Bili Tigry Liberec, HC Ocelari Trinec
Germany: Red Bull Munich, Adler Mannheim
Austria: Vienna Capitals, Red Bull Salzburg
The national champions of Slovakia, Norway, Belarus, Denmark, France and Poland will also qualify for the tournament.
Further representatives from Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria will be awarded the remaining places to complete the line-up for the 32-team tournament for next season.
The group stage of the 2017/18 tournament starts on 24th August and finishes on 11th October. The teams are divided into eight groups of four and each plays six games – one home and one away against the other three teams in its group.
The top two in each group advance to the play-off stage.
With 16 teams in the play-offs, four rounds are required to determine the European club champions. The first three rounds are all two-game, home-and-away, total-goal series, similar to the previous seasons.
The play-offs start on 31st October and finish with a one-game final on 6th February, 2018.
(Image permission: Dean Woolley)